Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day....2010

My early recollections of Thanksgiving are cloudy. Christmas I remember from an early age, but Thanksgiving is different. However, there are several memories:

WE DID NOT HAVE TURKEY. Since we had chickens, that is what we ate for our celebrations. Usually, it was capon and sometimes mother would do a duck, but only once do I remember having turkey. Someone gave us a turkey poult which turned out to be a hen. We raised her for a year or two and she did lay eggs...big honkers with maroon spots. I did not like her as she would chase you. I must have been about eleven or twelve at the time. Jim, Dave and I butchered her for Thanksgiving. I did not even try eating any. The next year we went back to chicken. By the time I was an older teen, Mother was buying butterball turkey for the family celebration.

SOMEONE ALWAYS READ THE 100th PSALM. It was a right of passage to get to read the Bible at the dinner table. I was probably seven or eight when my turn came. The tradition continued for several years and finally we just went to praying our usual table grace.

WE DID NOT WATCH FOOTBALL. Believe it or not the NFL was considered, well, like a bunch of convicts playing a dirty game... unlike high school or college ball which was considered ok. Besides, the Steelers always lost back then. The football came in when I began dating Aleene. Her dad did not watch football, but her relatives did. It was not unusual for us to hit two or three meals on turkey day, but by that time I was 19, 20 or 21.

WE ALWAYS HAD SOPHISTICATED CONVERSATION AT THE THANKSGIVING TABLE. Our holiday dinners were rather formal. Dad wore a bow tie as he carved. It was not unusual for Jim and me to wear ties. That formality was because we had lady guests... Grandmother Beal (Bonnie) who was a widow; Aunt Ann Welch (family friend and piano teacher) and while not necessarily Thanksgiving, but certainly Christmas, Aunt Phyllis (Tottie) would be there. Dad talked politics with Ann and Tottie, but never Bonnie. The older brothers had their girls/wives there, but they usually pressed on to other things. I became one of those pressing on when Aleene and I started dating. I realized that there was other food available on her side of the family...something Brother Joe had figured out 15 years before.

THANKSGIVING USUALLY INCLUDED MAKING HOME MADE ICE CREAM WITH THE LEFT OVER EVENING MEAL. That was my favorite, of course. When we had milk cows, that included a quart of cream in the ice cream mix. The ice cream was done when I couldn't crank it any longer. Dave could crank the freezer forever.

The traditions ended when Dad died in 1962. What ever Mother did that year I do not recall. Aleene and I were an item, so I hung out with her. The next year I was in the Navy and soon after, Mother sold the farm. In the 1980s we began going to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving...usually celebrated on Friday, since most of the family traveled on Thursday.

Those are my thoughts in 2010 as we relax and watch football after doing the 5K walk this morning. We will be celebrating our Thanksgiving tomorrow with the family.

No comments: